The Maryland Mania staged a coming-out party at UMBC Stadium last night, winning an exhibition game with the lower-rated Northern Virginia Royals, 3-1.
Play was ragged at times, but the Mania, with only a couple of scrimmages played, revealed a pair of quick forwards and a midfield that at times was suffocating.
"It's always nice to win, but we're trying out different players in different positions, and hopefully, we can iron out some of the kinks," said Mania coach Daryl Gee.
An administrative goof resulted in no officials showing up, but Mo Sheta, owner of the D3 Pro League Royals who also is a referee, called the game.
Down 2-0 at halftime, the Royals made things interesting in the 53rd minute with a 9-yard score by Jeff Standish on a pass out of midfield. But Mania sub Scott Pearson iced the outcome in the 73rd minute to the delight of about 250 fans with a 10-yard goal on a feed from the right side by midfielder Todd Haskins, the former Parade All-American from Howard High.
After a cautious opening by both teams, the new A-League entry Mania gained control of midfield, and in the 37th minute, former Maryland midfielder Steve Armas slipped a pass to forward Steve Knapman, who sped 20 yards and slotted home a goal past sliding Royals keeper Steve Thonson from about 8 yards.
Six minutes later, Knapman turned feeder, hitting forward Richard Moller, a former Towson University star, just inside midfield. Moller went about 25 yards before chipping over Thonson from about 12 yards, making the score 2-0 at halftime.